The firing incident in which Nitesh Rane, son of state revenue minister, Narayan Rane was accused of shooting at an activist, has taken a political colour with Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party members alleging that the Congress government was going soft on the issue.
“He should be arrested immediately and Rane should resign from the Cabinet,” demanded Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe.
But Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said the government would not interfere in the case. “The truth will come out in the investigation. Let the law take its own course,” he said.
Police officials made no attempt to arrest Nitesh on Friday. An attempt to murder case was registered against him for allegedly shooting at Chintu Shaikh, an activist of Swabhiman, an NGO to which both are affiliated, on Thursday afternoon. The bullet hit the victim’s cheek.
Amitabh Gupta, additional commissioner of police (West) said: “Sections relating to attempt to murder have been applied based on the FIT lodged by the victim. But we can arrest Nitesh only if we have conclusive evidence.”
Mangesh Pote, senior of police inspector at Khar police station added: “Information given by Chintu is very sketchy. At the moment, there is no conclusive evidence against Nitesh Rane.”
Police sources said Shaikh told the police that he had gone to the NGO’s office to distribute sweets because his wife had given birth to a boy.
Some members of the organisation objected to this, which led to an altercation. Nitesh, who was in the office, allegedly fired a shot that ricocheted off a bulletproof glass pane in the office and hit Shaikh on the cheek.
Nitesh denied that Shaikh had come to the Khar office on Thursday. “I learnt about the incident after I came out of a business meeting when I started getting calls from journalists,” Nitesh told Hindustan Times.
Police sources said Shaikh had told the Powai police that although he was injured after Nitesh shot at him in Khar, he travelled to Powai and got himself admitted to L.H. Hiranandani Hospital. The reason for this is not clear.